The Parks Forward Commission completed a thorough evaluation of state parks, gathering input from Department of Parks and Recreation staff, stakeholders, and the public about the challenges facing state parks today and in the future. The Commission considered various options to address those challenges and adopted final recommendations for setting a new course at its February 6, 2015 meeting. The Commission’s final recommendations call for a fundamental transformation of the Department, a rededication to working with park partners, and expansion of park access for all Californians. The Commissioners set forth an ambitious 2025 vision of a reinvigorated California park experience through a new park model that calls for collaborative park management and broad engagement of people, partners, businesses, and communities. The plan sets forth tangible steps for the Department and park partners to take in the next ten years to implement the recommendations and achieve the Commission’s 2025 park vision, including a set of two-year implementation priorities.
In January 2015, the Department of Parks and Recreation created a Transformation Team dedicated to making the reinvigorated California park system called for by the Parks Forward Commission a reality. More information on the Transformation Team can be found here.
In October 2015, the Commission met to assess the status of implementation of its recommendations, and it issued a report summarizing its findings, which is available here.
April 2016 Update
A key recommendation of the Parks Forward Commission was the need to create a new statewide nonprofit support entity to access resources and provide expertise not currently available to park managers. In April 2016, the Commission shared with Department Director Lisa Mangat an outline of its vision for this new organization and offered its assistance in working toward a successful launch. The two-page outline can be viewed here. The public may comment on these concepts by contacting the Department’s Transformation Team through the State Parks website.
Background on Plan Development
In 2014, staff prepared the Staff Working Draft Outline, dated February 6, presented in advance of the Commission's February 12 meeting. This Draft Outline reflected the distillation of work outlined below:
·Presentations and discussions at the September and December Commission meetings
·Results of FTI’s and other consultants' work
·Ten public workshops co-hosted by the Park and Recreation Commission last fall
·Survey and seven focus groups we conducted with the State Park's staff last fall
·Research into park asset management and funding in other states, the National Park System, and the UK’s National Trust
·Review of internal and external documents produced regarding State Parks or pertinent to the Commission's work
·Three Commission work group meetings that occurred in January
·Conversations and interviews with Commissioners, Park's staff, park partners, advocates, business, and the public
This Staff Working Draft Outline provided a framework for the Commission to organize what it had learned and begin discussions on possible recommendations at the February 12 meeting.
Based on input from that meeting, as well as numerous Commission Work Groups in March and results of other consultants work, including IMPACTS Research and Development, Parks Forward staff and Commission co-chairs developed the Staff Working Draft Outline into a Staff Working Draft Plan, dated March 18.
The plan further evolved into a revised Staff Working Draft, dated April 23. This draft contained proposed recommendations, found in Chapter 5, which were discussed at length by the Commission at their April 30 meeting in San Francisco.
The Commission’s July 30, 2014 draft plan can be found here.